NASA will test Alexa's voice control aboard the Artemis I mission.

NASA will test Alexas voice control aboard the Artemis I

Alexa is the first voice assistant available outside of Earth. Amazon and Lockheed Martin have announced that NASA will transport Alexa to space aboard the Artemis I mission launched later in 2022. While that flight is unmanned, the companies intends to conduct a “virtual crew experience” at NASA's Johnson Space Center that will allow humans in Mission Control (including students and special guests) to simulate conversations between the digital assistant and astronauts.

This is decidedly more sophisticated than the Alexa on your Echo speaker. Alexa will have access to Orion spacecraft telemetry data, answer “thousands” of mission-related questions and even control devices such as cabin lights. Amazon has finalized its algorithms to consider Orion acoustics. Connections in space shouldn't be a problem, either. The payload will allow Callisto-enabled Alexa technology with local voice control (even without internet access) and access the Deep Space Network to deliver news from home.

The campaign is not just about building rights or taking a Star Trek- computer style to life. Amazon will use the lessons learned from Artemis I to develop Alexa both for future missions and for everyday users, especially those with little internet connection. The company is also adding Alexa new experiences that will give you access to telemetry, images, Artemis I video (including the live stream launch) and notifications for key mission milestones.

Amazon hopes to nurture the next wave of space explorers in the process. It includes the Alexa for Astronauts program that provides access to virtual crew experience, digital tours of the Johnson Space Center and a STEM curriculum built with the help of the National Science Teaching Association and CSP Mobile. This move will help Amazon to burn its reputation, of course, but it could be beneficial if it encourages more students to pursue careers in the space industry.

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